7 Essential Oils for Anxiety and Stress Relief

by Carol Barrett April 14, 2020

7 Essential Oils for Anxiety and Stress Relief

Take a deep breath and let these natural, organic plant extracts chill you out.

Chances are you've already come across essential oils; maybe you've even used essential oils for anxiety. Like when your yoga instructor rubbed some on your shoulders at the end of practice, or when you always feel so zen at your friend's apartment because she has that aromatic diffuser on her countertop. In this increasingly health-conscious world, these plant-derived liquids have so many amazing healing properties.

What Are Essential Oils?

The practice of using essential oils is known as aromatherapy. These oils are highly concentrated liquids extracted from a plant, "And while they have a powerful aroma, it's not the aroma itself that has the beneficial effect, It's the chemicals in the liquid that can have a physiological and chemical effect on your brain chemistry and body."

Benefits of Essential Oils

While the uses for these essential oils can be anything from clearing skin to healing damaged hair, one of the major things essential oils can help with is anxiety. Stress-induced anxiety is widespread: It's what we are all feeling right now, your heart starts to race, your pulse skyrockets, and it becomes hard to focus. What's more: Anxiety is the most common mental health issue affecting over 18 percent of adults each year. And while essential oils should never be used as a replacement for prescribed anxiety medication, they can be an additional stress reliever, or help people with stress-induced, situational anxiety.

How to Use Essential Oils

Here's how it works: What happens when you open a bottle of essential oil-or put it on a tissue, dab it on your body, or put it in a diffuser-is that liquid is so highly volatile, which means that it evaporates very quickly, that it essentially creates a vapor around your body that you inhale.

When you breathe in, those particles go in two directions. They instantly go into your sinuses, where there are nerve receptors from the olfactory part of the brain. The vapor is then absorbed directly into the brain tissue, where it impacts memory, emotion, and the lymphatic brain, which is connected to your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. "But the particles are also inhaled into your lungs, where they enter your bloodstream and get involved in your [hormonal] endocrine system, where they change your body's reaction to stress.

The more of the particles you inhale-and, the closer they are to your nose-the the stronger the effect of the essential oil. It is recommended to apply to your pulse points and dabbing it on your temples and the spot between your eyebrows at the top of the bridge of your nose. That's a very strong point for calming the nervous system. Slowly breathe in and out for five to six breaths. You can also put a drop on the palm of each hand, and then cup your hands to your face and breathe in.

So if you're suffering from stress and anxiety, here is some information about the best oils to help overcome it.

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender will really chill you out. "The reason I like lavender as an essential oil for anxiety is that not only does it contain linalool, which has a sedative effect, it also relaxes the muscles, lowers blood pressure, increases circulation, lowers the cortisol in our bloodstream-all things that we are looking for to help us deal with stress

Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass is a spa staple, and for a good reason. People who inhaled three to six drops of the scent showed a reduction in their anxiety and tension levels immediately.

Bitter Orange Essential Oil

The bitter orange tree yields three different essential oils: oil that comes from the fruit; petitgrain, which comes from the leaf; and neroli, which comes from the flower. "These are all fantastic essential oils for anxiety, especially when it comes to sleep.

Clary Sage Essential Oil

If you get sick of lavender, try Clary Sage it is a terrific muscle relaxant and has a potent effect on the hormonal system, which would be highly useful for people whose lives are being ruled by severe hormonal shifts in their body

Vetiver Essential Oil

Vetiver is an oil that's called a base note-that means it has a very low evaporation cycle so that you can put it on your body and it will still be evaporating two days later. The fact that it sticks with you for so long could be useful for someone who knows she's going to be in a drawn-out stressful situation. Base notes tend to slow you down, calm you, make you feel grounded-that isn't a medical term, but the grounding you get from a base note relaxes your diaphragm, loosens your muscles, helps you focus-basically the opposite of what anxiety does.

Chamomile Essential Oil

You've likely heard about the soothing sleep-inducing effect of chamomile tea, and those extend to chamomile essential oil. Chamomile is also a base note, so it has that same grounding effect as vetiver.

Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

This extract comes from the Indonesian Cananga tree. When the essential oil was inhaled-in a blend with bergamot and lavender oil-once a day for four weeks, it lowered people's stress responses, as well as their cortisol and blood pressure levels.


Carol Barrett
Carol Barrett


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